A farewell cup of tea with Business Development Manager Ruth


Ruth Mulvey joined the team in 2014 as Business Development Manager. As she moves on to pastures new, we wanted to thank her for the incredible work she’s done at ITT – from securing our first large-scale funding from Big Lottery Fund, to helping us realise our strategic vision to reach more beneficiaries year-on-year, to making us howl with laughter… it’s been a roller-coaster ride with many highs!

We caught up with Ruth for one last cup of tea from her special mug (part of the 2015 festive ‘pound shop challenge’) to ask her about her time at ITT.

ITT: Was working for ITT as you expected when you applied for the role?

Ruth Mulvey: It’s been so much more than I expected, so versatile and such a varied role. I already knew about ITT’s work and had worked in the music sector, but the criminal justice sector was completely new to me and it’s been a really steep learning curve navigating my way around the sector and experiencing the world of working in prisons.

ITT: What have been your standout memories from your time at ITT? 

RM: Attending the project performances and reading all the feedback we get from participants is always very moving and memorable.

The violinist Maxim Vengerov performed a fundraising concert for us at Temple Church, and one of our beneficiaries was brave enough to speak and tell her story to a packed church full of lawyers and judges. I remember feeling so proud of both her and our work.

When I joined ITT in 2014, ITT was at a bit of a crossroads. There had been a period of short staffing which meant that some of ITT’s ambitions had been put on hold. During my first year, we decided to really focus on our long term aims and so we started talking to potential partners and funders about the new large scale ex-prisoner traineeship Sounding Out and our aims to be working with participants on a longer term basis in prisons as well. We took a big risk during my first year by focusing on some really big multiyear funding approaches in this area (rather than continuing to get funding to continue our shorter projects), and as a result there was a very nervous waiting period in summer 2015 where we waiting to find out what our fate would be. This period really sticks in my mind, I would read my star sign on the way to work to see whether there would be any news that day!

Luckily, we eventually had some really good news with multiyear funding which really meant that we could begin to make that step change in our project delivery, working with participants on a longer term basis and establishing our Sounding Out traineeship for ex-prisoners.

Platform 7ITT: Do any live performances stick in your mind?

RM: All the live performances have a very special buzz and raw energy about them, they are not quite like any other live performance experience I have ever had.

I think the first prison performance I went to in HMP Grendon when I first joined sticks in my mind, as do the first Making Tracks performances I went to in Lambeth.

When I was pregnant with my son (now 2!) I also remember going to a prison performance where the singer had written a song for his son, which was very emotional.

ITT: Do you have a favourite track created on projects?

Origami Hearts RM: Origami Hearts of course!

ITT: What have you learned from being part of ITT?

RM: Persistence. Things take a loooong time to happen in a prison, people are busy and take a long time to get back to you.

Expect the unexpected. There are so many factors working in criminal justice settings which means projects can change/the parameters can change at very short notice. Prior to ITT, I had worked in organisations where the only real barrier to delivering a project was having enough money. There are so many other factors and barriers to things happening when working in criminal justice settings.

The importance of having and communicating long terms aims and plans.

ITT: Why do you think this work is so vital?

RM: Have you read the website?! 😉

ITT: I wrote most of it, so, yes! What advice do you have for your successor?

RM: Enjoy it! And, get along to as many performances as you can!

ITT: How much are you going to miss us?

RM: I’ll be wandering round the streets singing “Goodbye my friend/ it’s not the end.”

ITT: “So glad we made it/ Time will never change it/ No, no, no.” Thanks Ruth, you have been an amazing Business Development Manager and we have all loved working with you!

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